In a world of outrage, you could overreact, misreact or underreact. NONA WALIA analyses underreacting, the new skill to be cultivated when everyone else overreacts
On social media, daily outrage is the new trend. Everyone is in a constant state of overreaction. How many times have you overreacted lately? Have you ever lost your mind about something that didn’t warrant a meltdown? Ever tried to underreact to something big? Did that seem more liberating?
When it comes to emotions, less is better. Normally, we get triggered easily and lose our emotional energy on trivia.
We are usually dancing between over and underreaction. The reason? We live in a world of constant outrage. We find ourselves losing our energy on things that are just too trivial.
Underreacting is the new superpower
When you underreact, you realise that you actually conserve energy. When you underreact, you keep your power and this choice takes you on a more positive path. The critical thing is to decide what needs your reaction, what situations demand overreaction, and when you should strategically underreact. When mapping your personal energy chart, if you underreact, you are mostly conserving your energy. If you overreact, you are more likely to exhaust yourself faster as it’s a form of self-sabotage. Bob Rotella in his book, How Champions Think, writes, “Performance process goals involve things like staying in the present moment, accepting whatever happens as it happens and underreacting to everything.”
This daily emotional filtering is likely to make you happier. When you feel disappointed or feel triggered by any strong emotions in reaction to others, try to distract your emotional brain. Learn the art of emotionally minimising your problem. The art of underreaction is a more positive way to change your life for the better.
The Cult of Overreaction
We are living in a society driven by reactivity and over-reaction. Real issues start to arise when we react much more than necessary under the circumstances. Overreactions are invitations to personal storms. Know when it’s appropriate to overreact. Some situations need overreaction, because it’s all about timing it right. Internal overreactions are emotional responses that remain inside you that others may or may not be aware of. Not all intense responses are overreactions. In some instances, a quick and extreme response is necessary to protect ourselves.
A situation can be volatile, but you manage your reactions. You ignore the trigger and focus on something better. This is a controlled response and the situation doesn’t deserve too much of your attention. On social media, underreacting is the new strategy. This is also about how you look at a situation and determine how you react.
The Art of Non-reaction
Between overreaction and underreaction, lies the world of non-reaction. The art of non-reaction lies in making conscious choices not to join an argument, or to follow non-productive thinking. During the course of an “average” day, you will no doubt get plenty of offers where you can practice declining or choosing not to react at all.
Choose your reactions well – with thought and care.
Nona Walia is a successful journalist and writer, who is also a motivational expert, passionate about helping people to live their best life. She likes to describe herself both as a Wellness Warrior and Wellness Blogger, who has done a certified online course on the ‘Science of Well-Being’ from Yale University. Nona Walia runs her own Wellness Channel on Youtube. She has worked with the Times of India for 24 years as Senior Assistant Editor. She is also an author for Thrive Global. She is the author of The Art of Mental Toughness.